I started my food business in September of last year. What has been hard for me is that everyone loves the products. I just need to get them in the mood to buy. I mailed out flyers and have sent e-mails but I did not get a huge response. I want to advertise and keep in touch with my clients but I do not want to be spending all my money on that with little to no return. I have some clients that use the products everyday and have made it part of their grocery lists, and some that only use them on special occasions. I need to get more of the first clients….
The key to this is creating customer loyalty. We all strive for customer satisfaction, but do we create loyalty? We want our customers to come back to us again and again and remember us, our business and our names when they need a product or service. Remember, it is much easier to keep a customer rather than find new ones.
Here are some tips. These are based on a gourmet food business, but can be tailored for any direct sales business.
*Follow up with your customers 2 – 5 days after the initial sale. Ask them if they have any questions or need suggestions on how to use the products.
*Ask for an email address so you can put them in your email club. Email club members should get specials, discounts, recipes, and more. Tell them to expect this newsletter once a month around the 15th. Now make sure you do this! If they are expecting it, they will look for it.
*Follow up again via phone 30 – 45 days after the sale. By now they have used the product up or have fallen in love with it and will want more. A quick phone call saying “Hi, this is Louann with Megan’s Pantry. I wanted to see if you needed any more products. I’m offering a special today…with any $50 order you can get a free spinach dip (or something like this)
* Follow up via phone before major holidays. You’d be amazed at how many people want/need products before Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc
*Let your customers know where you will be. Are you doing a craft fair or an expo. Tell them this. Pick up the phone and let everyone know you will be at the XYZ expo on Saturday June 1st. Be sure to leave your phone number in case they have questions
*Create a buyers club. As a member, they can get free shipping with any order over $50 or for every $200 spent they’ll receive a full size product of their choice. Be creative. See what works in your area, but remember to keep it simple.
You’ll notice I recommend using the phone rather than mailings. You will have a much better success rate spending time on the phone rather than via mail. Think about all the things you get in the mail and TOSS. Or they end up in a pile of things to do later. A quick phone call develops a personal relationship that will take your business to the next level! Plus phone calls are practically free, where sending things in the mail gets pretty expensive very quickly.
Spend 5 hours a month (That’s only 1.25 hours a week) on the phone making these calls and you will see your customer loyalty SOAR.
Success in Direct Sales – Part 4
As we continue on our series of posts on finding success in direct sales by being persistent and consistent I wanted to give you a quick overview on one of the easiest ways to work your business consistently. We talked about it briefly on the first post here, but because it’s easy and doable even if you hate the computer, I thought I’d elaborate.
All you need to make this system work for your business is a 3×5 card box, a set of 3×5 cards, some number (1-31), monthly (Jan-Dec) and Alpha (A-Z) tabs for the 3×5 box.
Put the alpha tabs in the back of the box, the monthly tabs in front of that and the 1-31 tabs in front of that. Sort your monthly tabs starting with the month after this current month. So, for instance, this is October. My monthly tabs start with November, December and then start over again in January. The same for the 1-31 tabs. I start with tomorrow’s date and put all the other ones for the rest of this month behind it. Starting with 1 on up to today’s date, I put those into next month’s tab. Pictures speak louder than words here so I’ll let the picture show you what I mean.
So let’s say today is October 20th. I have cards behind my 20 daily tab with things I need to do today. There are two ways I work this. For my hostesses, I make up a card with their information for their particular party and then write out date reminders of when I need to do things. After I’ve done the item listed for that particular date, I file that card into the next date I have listed.
I also have a generic follow up card where I write down the names of people I’ve promised to follow up with on a certain date.
Their information cards are filed in the Alpha file so I can pull those out as I’m getting ready to call – they have all the information that I need on them so I can interact with them in a friendly way.
When I’ve worked through my cards for the day, I move todays number tab to next month and I’m ready for tomorrow. I close the box and go play with my kids! Easy breezy!
I’m a big believer in working a direct sales or network marketing business as a real business. Unfortunately too many times moms, in particular, jump into direct sales without any real plan of how to really make it work as a business and so they end up either doing nothing, becoming a wholesale buyer and ending up with way too much product around their house or a statistic in the “direct sales isn’t for me” sorority.
Although I am convinced that not everyone has the time, energy or desire to be in the top money category for their particular direct sales company, I do think that anyone who invests in a starter kit with a company they believe in CAN make it a business and make some money. They must, however, invest time and energy to do so and they must must must work it consistently and be persistent.
First they must work it consistently. That just means they have to have a plan to work their business somewhat either every day or every other day, or even a few times a week. There absolutely must be a commitment to work it, consistently and methodically. In the other parts of this article series we’ll talk about a simple plan for the average direct sales mom to do that that really works.
Second, they must be persistent. Now relax. I don’t mean persistent in that you need to just keep hounding your friends and family even if they’re running at break neck speed in the other direction when they see you coming. Nope, I don’t believe in that strategy at all. What I do believe is you must be persistent in this business and be willing to ride over some rough waters that will come with every (and I do mean every) direct sales business out there. What that means is simple. When things don’t seem to be going the way you want them to, change course a bit but keep going! If your company home office makes some changes that you don’t agree with, don’t quit. Make adjustments and keep working the business. If your upline isn’t providing the support you think you need, find another mentor in the company and ask for support from them or contact your home office directly. Just keep working.
What happens in our industry is this roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s inevitable given the nature of our business plan. We’re the owners of our own business but we still have accountability, policies and procedures to follow from a parent company. We call the shots, but only to a certain degree. Because we’re not fully in control, there will be conflict. Persist through it. Keep riding the roller coaster and it will start to climb again.
Is it worth it? You bet it is! Because with each down dip there will be an upward peak. If you’re consistently working your business and persistent through the tough times, you’ll reap some great rewards. Plus you’ll have a whole lot more fun!